University of Colorado senior Kate Murphy has a method to finding study partners in class.
She’s got it down to a science, scouting the room for the smart and focused students who can help her maintain an impressive grade point average.
As a non-traditional student herself, Murphy said she generally looks for other older students to study with because they generally care more about their education.
“I tend to look for gray hair,” Murphy said. “Older students are usually paying for school themselves so they tend to work harder and care more about the material.”
But not all students are as knowledgeable as Murphy about how to find a good study buddy. So for everyone else, CU offers programs that pair students up with their peers and tutors who can help them with a tough class or just make studying a little less taxing.
Sally Forester, academic adviser for the business school, said freshmen often need the most help connecting with study partners and tutoring resources and that’s what the Academic Support Assistance Program — or ASAP — provides.
Through ASAP, students living on campus can get assistance finding peer study partners, group study sessions, tutoring and other academic programs across campus.
Anne Sandoe, director of MBA programs at Leeds School of Business, said finding the best study routines, including picking a good study partner or group, gets easier throughout college for most students.
“As students increase in their course levels, many of the classes get smaller and students will start seeing the same students over and over,” Sandoe said. “That can make it easier for students to connect for study groups.”
While study groups can be beneficial in helping students better understand class material, some students still prefer to study solo.
CU senior Steve Dannenberg said he doesn’t usually study with other students, but he does take advantage of professors’ office hours and some of the campus resources.
“I’ve used the writing center and it was really helpful,” Dannenberg said.
Other students, like CU senior Melissa Bowlin, said they used to study alone but have found groups to be more helpful as classes get harder.
“Group sessions are so much better for my tough classes than trying to do it alone,” Bowlin said. “I didn’t used to study in groups, but now I feel like it’s the best option.”
Most colleges at the university have programs designed specifically for their students’ particular curriculums.
Leeds provides both undergraduate and MBA students with free tutoring for business classes, through open tutoring hours — which can be found on its Web site — and special requests from students.
Forester said while many of the tutoring programs are geared at freshmen who may not be as comfortable asking their classmates for help, there’s one simple tip that she would give to students of any level.
“Look for study partners in the first three rows of the class,” Forester said. “Students that sit in the front of the room are more likely to participate and be involved in the class. That’s your best bet for finding someone who knows what’s going on.”
Students can also search the Leeds Facebook page for study partners.
The math department has open tutoring and offers course-specific help in conjunction with the Student Academic Services Center — or SASC.
The Writing Center offers free advice for students, faculty, staff and alumni about written communication, such as grammar rules, rhetoric and style.
Other helpful resources include sites like Br@iniac (cengagebrain.com), a virtual study buddy finder that connects students using the same textbook.
Amidst the endless options for getting academic support on campus, Forester reminds students not to forget some of the more traditional ways to get help.
“Talking to your professors can be the best way to clarify the material,” Forester said. “TAs and discussion leaders are also helpful, but don’t forget to take advantage of office hours.”